When Insurance Digital Revolution surveyed 1,970 independent agencies this year, 52% of respondents said “they don’t have a good understanding of cyber threats and what to do about them.” Furthermore, only 10% of respondents said “their cybersecurity protection is excellent.”
What’s worse, 63% do not “have a written security plan in place,” as required by law under the FTC Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and by the Insurance Data Security Model Law established by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). If you aren’t concerned, you should be. The industry that charges itself with providing cybersecurity insurance not only doesn’t fully understand the risk, but is failing to protect itself and its customers’ data.
On August 14, NetVU hosted the webinar, “Security Changes Coming to Your Agency,” featuring industry leaders who discussed the looming crisis. “New laws like the New York cybersecurity law will require multi-factor authentication [and] that will only add to the pain point of credential management,” said Mike Foy, NetVU chair and president of Foy Insurance. NetVU estimates that the cost of compliance will soon run between $1,000 to $3,000 per agency employee per year unless preventative action is taken.
“The challenge for our industry is to provide a single solution — not each insurance carrier or MGA providing their own solution,” Foy said. NetVU endorses SignOn Once by ID Federation as the simplest, most cost-effective solution with the greatest security. Vertafore is an ID Federation-certified solution provider, and SignOn Once is available through Vertafore Single Sign On (VSSO).
“Please don’t think [cyberattacks happen] only at Home Depot or Hannaford Supermarkets,” warned Steve Aronson, president, Aronson Insurance, Needham, Massachusetts. "The reason ID Federation exists, the reason multifactor authentication is important, the reason that we need to be paying attention is that our business is in jeopardy… Security risks to agencies are real.”
Aronson, who is on the ID Federation board of directors, described three recent incidents that affected him:
Cyberattacks are “happening to us. We need to pay attention,” Aronson said.
You and your agency can prepare:
Stay tuned for more information about credential management in upcoming articles.
NetVU’s Volunteer Development Program — designed to grow and train future leaders — began its second year in September with a two-day leadership class taught by Mary Kelly, Ph.D., CEO of Productive Leaders Inc. The yearlong program includes quarterly check-in assessments, webinars with Kelly and participation in accountability groups. The goal of the program is to offer world-class leadership training, create opportunities for personal and professional growth, and provide a path for future leaders to become engaged volunteers. The 25 participants from last year’s inaugural class were recognized at Accelerate, powered by NetVU, this past May.
“This year’s attendees were extremely passionate and motivated,” says Melissa Bond, NetVU member relations manager. “The course helps develop qualified, enthusiastic volunteer leaders who are committed to helping NetVU achieve its mission and move our industry forward.” Bond says the program grew out of a realization that “training in leadership results in better volunteers — in our communities, in the workplace, and at NetVU. You get better leaders all around.” Kelly offered practical advice on communicating as a leader, leading effective meetings, building consensus and moving an idea forward, handling difficult people and working with micromanagers. She also placed importance on sharing experiences, both positive and negative, with others for feedback.
Topics at this year’s session included communicating bottom-line expectations in an email (BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front), saying “no” to tasks that aren’t the best use of your time, and breaking down goals using a five-minute plan so they are actionable and attainable. NetVU added a public speaking component to this year’s training. “Participants said they wanted to be more comfortable in front of an audience,” Bond says. “Each of them recorded a short practice interview, and they have been encouraged to pursue certification in the NetVU Educator’s Presentation Guild.”
This year’s participants include agency leaders/owners, middle management and those starting out in their career. While they have different backgrounds and levels of experience, they all benefit from the face-to-face interaction and learning. The program will continue throughout the year. “One of the pluses of our program is that it creates connections,” Bond says. “Through the quarterly check-ins and the accountability groups, participants are staying in touch, sharing ideas and supporting each other — and this is how our industry stays so successful.” During the year, the participants attend virtual leadership sessions with Kelly that are tailored to their needs. In addition, they will attend a half-day workshop at Accelerate, powered by NetVU, in 2019. Attendees praised Kelly as an insightful, compelling and lively instructor. A Naval Academy graduate, speaker and trainer, Kelly served 20 years in the Navy before changing careers to teach management and economics at the college level, write a best-selling book, and advise organizations on job performance and leadership.
For more information about the program, contact Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of us have a hobby that falls under the umbrella of the arts—dance, instrumental music or singing, visual arts like painting and drawing and even sculpture, sewing and quilting, storytelling and poetry writing. As we age, the importance of holding fast to these vital parts of ourselves seems only to increase. While in any chapter of life the arts enrich our lives and give us invaluable means by which to express and process complex emotions, experiences, and ide
as, now research is showing that art is particularly important for fostering “meaning, joy and a vibrant sense of well-being” in the lives of older people. For instance, one study sponsored by the National Endowment of for the Arts showed that “when older people become involved in culturally enriching programs, they experience a decline in depression, are less likely to fall and pay fewer visits to the doctor. In another study among people with Alzheimer’s disease, a sculpting program imp
roved the participants’ mood and decreased their agitation even after the program ended.”
In the words of Janine Tursini, who directs the Maryland-based Arts for Aging Program, “The arts open people up, giving them new vehicles for self-expression, a chance to tell their stories” and thus her belief in the benefit of “programs [that] capitalize on assets that remain, not on what’s been lost.” Focusing on all we have still is an important mentality as we age and engaging in the arts supports this practice. Take for instance the benefits of movement in dance and performance which promote physical and emotional healing, strengthening the body’s strength, mobility and balance; or the social component of these programs, which bring seniors together in a positive setting that affirms healthy aging and robust quality of life. These aren’t activities or environments that demand any youth or age-specific performance; rather they simply invite participants to bring their talents, interests, and insight to an expressive pursuit. The benefits are tangible—such initiatives which engage the arts and bring the aging population together clinically correlate with lowered blood pressure, decreased stress hormone levels, and elevated levels of hormones like endorphins and adrenaline that resemble a runner’s high.
The arts belong in every person’s life in unique and individual ways, and beautifully, the ability and space to continually engage in expressive and emotive pursuits isn’t the property of one age or population. Art is for everyone, and for us as we age, art has only greater merit and potential, to help us stay connected, positive, expressive, and vibrant.
About the Author
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is founder and CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE). WAHVE is a unique contract staffing talent solution that brings companies and pretiring professionals together across the country to meet their work needs, full-time or part-time. WAHVE’s areas of specialty are insurance and accounting. Companies get the right matched talent and vintage experts get to extend their careers working from home. wahve.com
By Mike Foy. Originally published in ITA Pro Magazine
Insurers have made tremendous strides in the field of data analytics over the last 10 years. With far greater certainty, companies are now able to predict risk exposures, claims losses and premium costs. Agents are absolutely applauding these advances. It means getting faster quotes and better pricing for clients. But, insurers also need to share data with agents to provide insight into customer behavior and sales performance. Working together, agents and insurers can leverage data to increase retention, reduce losses and generate new business. That would be a win-win for the entire industry, as well as policyholders.
In the early days of data automation, agencies could print an application and move some data around. That was about it. Then came customer relationship management (CRM) systems and the ability to generate reports on many different aspects of our business. That is where most agencies are today, and it is far from where we need to be. It’s not hard to imagine, however, an Amazon-like future where, with touch of a screen, an agent can view a customer’s record and learn that policyholders with similar profiles have purchased an umbrella policy or raised the limits on personal automobile coverage. What if agency staff had that kind of information at a moment’s notice, similar to the way consumers receive purchasing suggestions when shopping online?
With advanced predictive analytics, agencies could help move the industry closer to its goal of becoming more customer-centric. Analytics could help identify coverage gaps and improve service. Analytics could also help insurers determine how profitable a book of business is, where maximum sales efficiencies can be achieved, and how best to increase per-agent production.
As an agent, I’m always trying to better understand my customers. I asked one insurer to help me analyze why our agency’s retention rates were lower on its business, in particular. The answer, in part, was that the customers we had helped cover for this insurer had no prior coverage. When I drilled down further, I found that if policyholders paid in full or used electronic funds transfer (EFT), our retention rates were higher. That’s a powerful set of predictive data that could help my agency retain business and increase premiums for the insurer, but very few companies offer agents this kind of insight.
Another example is the close ratio on insurance quotes. I’ve had one or two insurers share with me the number of times we’ve quoted them versus the number of policies they’ve actually written. Sometimes we discover the number is low because the agent may not have fully understood the product or realized there was a discount. That’s helpful information and an indication that we need to do more training.
Here are a few suggestions:
I’m a big believer in harnessing the power of information. If we all work together to collect and share data, we can transform our industry. We can truly unleash the value of analytics.
Does anyone have suggested solutions for secure email?
- Mike Kurczewski,
Walton Insurance Group | Jackson, MI
I'm looking for the best way to pull a customer list to use for our holiday card mailing. Any suggestions?
- Kyle Young
First Group Insurance | Sterling, KS
Where are you making note of multi-year rate guarantees in BenefitPoint, since there is no specific field for it?
- Heidi Wamsher
Hylant | Toledo, OH
Angela Adams Consulting
Bank Direct Capital Finance
The Cincinnati Insurance Company
EMC Insurance Company
The Hanover Insurance Group
The Kotter Group LLC
Motorists Insurance Group
The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research
The Omnia Group
Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
QuiKer by The Human Equation
Selective Insurance Company of America
Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE)